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Source: (consider it) Thread: Lost in a liturgical desert
Angloid
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I know I am a liturgical obsessive, and being a retired priest makes it worse, as one is always tempted to tell the vicar how things should be done. But I do feel somewhat bereft especially at the beginning of Holy Week, and I wonder if other (specifically C of E, though there will be parallels for other Anglicans and other denominations) shipmates feel similarly.

The majority of parishes around here are low or evangelical in tradition, and I have settled in one which in most other ways is lovely but has little sense of liturgy or understanding of the centrality of the Eucharist. And for Palm Sunday they were having an All-Age Service of the Word.

On such occasions I usually escape to another church which is 'moderate catholic' and usually celebrates a moving and dignified eucharist (despite having a tiny congregation and few resources). However today it too was 'All-age'. It did include the Eucharist (for which many thanks) and began with a procession of palms. But then it sort of collapsed into 'messy church' and the making of collage pictures of the events of Holy Week. There was no reading of the Passion which to my mind is the crucial element – especially as many people do not attend the Good Friday Liturgy. Above all, although people, even especially the children, were very much involved and thoughtful about what they were doing, and the atmosphere was quite prayerful, I felt that the note of solemnity was missing.

I could have gone to the cathedral for a very formal and impersonal liturgy; to a Forward-in-faith church for the Roman mass (in the latest 'translation'); or to an anglo-catholic version of the Book of Common Prayer. None of which would be really in my comfort zone.

Is it too much to expect that every ordinary parish church should have at least one celebration of the Eucharist every Sunday according to an authorised rite? Why did the Liturgical Commission strive to produce Common Worship, and particularly the Holy Week services, if they are ignored by many (and maybe in these parts, most) parishes?

I'm letting off steam here because it would be rude and inappropriate to do so to the parish priests concerned. I recognise how dedicated they are to their ministries and that their priorities differ from mine. But I do pine for a bog-standard church in every parish, where whatever their theological or socio-economic make-up they do what it says on the tin and offer Church of England worship. Am I really a dinosaur and do I need to get a life?

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Chorister

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Should have come to my place. I feel much the same as you and realise that we were fortunate to have a suitably solemn Eucharistic service, with full passion reading and procession (around the church as it was wet) but we also managed to include the children in an age-appropriate but thought-provoking play at the end. I mean thought-provoking for the adults too - although acted by children, it was very cleverly written, making us rethink our attitudes by focussing in on the less than perfect attitudes and actions of those who were there at the time.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
However today it too was 'All-age'. It did include the Eucharist (for which many thanks) and began with a procession of palms. But then it sort of collapsed into 'messy church' and the making of collage pictures of the events of Holy Week. There was no reading of the Passion which to my mind is the crucial element. . . . I'm letting off steam here because it would be rude and inappropriate to do so to the parish priests concerned.

Your only consolation is that the church in question can no longer be called a desert, as it has been flooded with the tears of the Baby Jesus and his Blessed Mother.

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"Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your praise bands." -- Amos 5:23, Good News Bible (modified)

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Zappa
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Come to my pad - please! Though perhaps a tad far to travel.

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L'organist
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Angloid

I feel for you.

BUT - for years some of us have tried to say to clergy who prate about 'all-age' and 'worship' and 'family praise services' that religion lite is not enough and we've been ignored or, worse, howled down.

As it happens, I bumped into one of our locally retired bishops earlier this morning and he was moaning about the quality of service on offer in the village where he now lives: I pointed out that in his earlier incarnation he had defended precisely the sort of regime on offer.

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Gamaliel
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Quite right, L'Organist.

I can sympathise too, Angloid.

I find our local liberal catholic parish conducive in terms of the way it celebrates the eucharist, but it's over all theology is too liberal for me.

On the other hand, I find our evangelical parish far too evangelical (in the wrong sense of the term) and as for the communion ... I've been involved with Baptist churches where the sense of there being something 'special' about the eucharist is far more palpable and expressed more explicitly than it is here ...

[Frown]

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Baptist Trainfan
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As a Baptist, I can hardly comment - although I do actually like even Nonconformist liturgy to be done "properly" and despair of over-informality.

I think there are three or four questions here.

1. The first is to ask how much any one church can satisfy everyone, all the time. And whether we all become so taken up with consumer culture that we find it important to "like" what is on offer at the church we attend?

I hope this doesn't sound grouchy but, after all, until fairly recently most people "had" to go to a local church, irrespective of what was on offer there, as they could not go further afield. (All right, I exaggerate ... but one couldn't jump in a car and drive elsewhere).

2. It does strike me, as a non-Anglican, that parish churches should not have a particular theological or liturgical emphasis ... or else should somehow be able to cater for all the different variations via a plethora of services!

I realise that the latter is impossible - but there is something to be said for all parish churches being fairly MOTR, so that they cater for as many folk as possible. There is also something to be said about consistency across the whole Church. (Those who want something different can always go to the Nonconformists or the Catholics (or whatever).

3. One question cannot answer is about the requirements of Canon Law, especially with regard to Eucharist. We only have it twice a month (once in the morning and once in the evening) but there is no external requirement mandated us to follow any particular pattern.

4. Interestingly, the retired Vicar who conducted worship at the service I attended yesterday was saying something very similar to you with respect to Easter services in this town. There are about 10 Anglican churches he could attend, but he said that the only ones whose liturgy really "work" for him are those which he cannot attend as he disagrees with their stand against the ordination of women. (I'm not trying to introduce a DH, just reporting his predicament).

5. By the way, I would much prefer not to read the Passion Narrative on Palm Sunday, but focus on the Entry to Jerusalem. I'd leave the Passion to Good Friday rather than "jumping the gun", as it were. Of course the real problem is that there isn't a Sunday in between ...!

[ 30. March 2015, 13:30: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Albertus
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Baptist as you are, BT, I think you've got a much better understanding of what it means to be CoFE than all too many CofE clergy!

[ 30. March 2015, 13:39: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Is it too much to expect that every ordinary parish church should have at least one celebration of the Eucharist every Sunday according to an authorised rite?

I could be wrong, but isn't there something in Canon Law to that effect?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Baptist as you are, BT, I think you've got a much better understanding of what it means to be CoFE than all too many CofE clergy!

Well, thank you ... perhaps they should defect to the One True Church then [Devil] !

[ 30. March 2015, 14:04: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Albertus
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Believe me, you wouldn't want 'em
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Angloid
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You're quite right, Baptist Trainfan. I agree with all your points except the last. As a Baptist you are of course at total liberty to focus on the Entry into Jerusalem and place less or no emphasis on the Passion. But as Anglicans we have the option of ignoring the former but not the latter, on the Sunday before Easter. Pastorally speaking it makes no sense (apart from offering a less-challenging liturgy) to jump straight from the Hosannas of the palms to the Alleluias of Easter. I don't know any parish where the regular Sunday congregation turns up en masse for the Good Friday Liturgy. Indeed many churches don't even offer the full Liturgy; they have a 'passion-lite', consisting of meditations which may or may not be challenging but usually depend on the Vicar's imagination or lack of it.

After yesterday's let-down however, I was greatly encouraged by today's Chrism Mass and an inspiring episcopal address. So all is not lost.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Is it too much to expect that every ordinary parish church should have at least one celebration of the Eucharist every Sunday according to an authorised rite?

I could be wrong, but isn't there something in Canon Law to that effect?
You're not wrong at all. However a great deal of diplomacy is called for when one's own parish priest disregards that law, and I haven't worked out how to challenge him without upsetting a friendship or appearing carping and confrontational.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Pastorally speaking it makes no sense ... to jump straight from the Hosannas of the palms to the Alleluias of Easter. I don't know any parish where the regular Sunday congregation turns up en masse for the Good Friday Liturgy.

Yes, that's the problem in a nutshell. If it's any consolation, Baptists may well be even worse at turning up on Good Friday (or Maundy Thursday evening), as they mostly have little concept of the liturgical year. (They're good at taking part in public acts of witness on Good Friday, however ... especially as they haven't got a 3-hour service to get back to, only tea and hot cross buns!)

[ 30. March 2015, 15:08: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Y'know, whenever I've said that the worship on offer doesn't "suit" me, I've been told by the liturgy fans that it's not about me, it's not meant to be entertaining, I don't have to like it, etc. etc.

Now, meseems, the shoe is on the other foot. Perhaps sitting through the collage making (the horror) will bring you the spiritual benefits I've been assured that sitting through the Litany would bring me, honest it would.

[ 30. March 2015, 15:22: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Angloid
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Well, I tried, Karl, I really did. And it wasn't a complete turn-off. I do try to sympathise with those who prefer something different from formal liturgy (and as I have hinted, over-formal liturgy turns me off too.) It's just that the Church we belong to insists on a minimal standard (eucharist, lectionary etc) which IMHO should be the basis of any experimental worship that springs from it. But whereas bishops in the past were ready to jump on any priest who performed unauthorised (aka Roman Catholic) liturgy, now they are so keen on 'fresh expressions' of the tradition that the tradition itself is in danger of being overlooked. I don't know what the answer is because I'm sure it isn't more legalism. Probably to encourage a greater liturgical literacy.
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Albertus
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Fat chance of that when they've devolved all theological education to the dioceses, as they seem to want to do.
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leo
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My sympathies, Angloid.

My 'liberal catholic' parish does all the 'right things' this week - procession and passion yesterday, foot washing and watch Thurs., passion, veneration and HC Thurs., fire, candle, vigil, vows and eucharist early Sunday. But I have to fight for it each year on the team when we review and plan for next year.

This Holy Week marks 50 years for me of having done the 'proper Catholic' liturgical Holy Week and it has become a habit and a chore. I sometimes fantasise about having a year off and going somewhere in the Middle East where there are few churches. It might mean more next year. However, I work hard to make the liturgies happen because some of the younger fold might get the buzz that I used to in former times.

Not much of an answer but 'I share your pain'.

Why not go on retreat to Mirfield next year - they do a superb Holy Week. One of the most 'real' I have ever witnessed.

Or, as an SD, lead a Holy Week retreat yourself which offers what we used to call 'Full Catholic privbileges.'?

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Angloid
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Thanks for that encouragement leo.

I must admit, maybe a bit like you, not feeling the same 'buzz' or excitement even when the liturgy is done 'properly.' I do like to keep faithful though.

I'm sure the Triduum will be fine this year. I'd love to go to Mirfield for it again: maybe next year.

I suppose my unease is at the 'pick and mix' approach which is happy to use bits of the tradition when it suits but equally to ditch it at a whim. Often the whim of a vicar who can't be bothered to present the liturgy at times or in ways when it can be best appreciated.

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Arethosemyfeet
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Somewhat jealous of all those able to experience the full liturgy of the Passion this Holy Week. I'm gradually, by baby steps, introducing bits of the traditional liturgy to the church with which I worship - we had the full Passion Gospel read in parts yesterday and will have communion and foot washing on Maundy Thursday. Reservation for the solemn liturgy of Good Friday is a step too far for my Presbyterian and Baptist brothers and sisters at present but I live in hope! Need to go and write a reflection for Holy Tuesday now before I go to bed.
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georgiaboy
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I, too, was once in the desert during Holy Week -- okay, truth time, I was visiting my Methodist mother. She asked me to go to church with her on Maundy Thursday evening. So I went, little suspecting ...
What I found was a communion service, done with the full Methodist script (I guess) , BUT the officiating minister and 12 men assisting were dressed and arranged to a 'living picture' of daVinci's famous Last Supper -- No, I'm not making this up -- AND THEN -- when they had done all that, they sang a hymn and went out, leaving the elements on the table. Those in attendance were invited to come up and help themselves. (And the church would be open until midnight for the convenience of others.)

Is this sort of thing common? Unusual? Never head of it?

Just curious.

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Somewhat jealous of all those able to experience the full liturgy of the Passion this Holy Week. I'm gradually, by baby steps, introducing bits of the traditional liturgy to the church with which I worship - we had the full Passion Gospel read in parts yesterday and will have communion and foot washing on Maundy Thursday. Reservation for the solemn liturgy of Good Friday is a step too far for my Presbyterian and Baptist brothers and sisters at present but I live in hope! Need to go and write a reflection for Holy Tuesday now before I go to bed.

quote:
In some parishes it has been customary to have a second Table at a later hour, when the communicants receive the elements already consecrated.
Preamble to 'Order which may be used at a second Table', Book of Common Order, 1940 (p.132). So there at least in essence you have a liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, with the imprimatur of General Assembly! I suspect that this assumes that the communicants at the second Table will not be the same people as at the first; it does not specify how long may elapse between the two Tables. But you might interpret those factors as you choose ... [Biased]

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Gamaliel
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I can sympathise, Karl - even if - and I can't remember rightly - I may have been one of those who gave you a hard time and told you to grin and bear it ...

I think there's a lot in what Baptist Trainfan has said. Back in the day most people didn't have a great deal of option as to which church to attend - unless they lived in a city where all different types of churches were cheek-by-jowl ... or in West Yorkshire or the South Wales Valleys where there was almost a different 'flavour' of non-conformist chapel on every street corner ...

Or, Newport in South Wales where, as Sioni Sais reminds us, the saying is that there are more churches than Christians ...

I don't think there's an easy answer.

It might make sense in some ways for all Anglican parishes to offer MoR style worship - but that ain't going to suit either the evangelicals nor the Anglo-Catholics.

Our local evangelical vicar seems to think that it's his job to try and nudge people towards more evangelical/charismatic style worship - starting with a traditional but rather 'relaxed' (as he puts it) 9am service as an entry-level or 'safe' zone ...

Some people vary and attend both the 9am and the more 'lively' or wannabee lively 11am ... but by and large he's effectively ended up with two congregations.

I daresay an Anglo-Catholic priest may see it as part of his job to introduce people to the 'beauty of holiness' and the delights of a more ritualised approach ...

I'm not sure if there is any way 'around' that in either case.

The Orthodox seem to be the only ones who go in for 'one size fits all' but even there you will find some regional variations to a certain extent.

I think the key might be liturgical literacy, but I can't see that happening any time soon. I've got to be honest, and I'm not boasting either, but even as someone who spent a quarter of a century in 'new church' and Free Church settings, I feel I'm more 'liturgically literate' than our local evangelical vicar at times.

I s'pose the bottom line for me - and I don't mean this to sound consumerist - is that however it's done it should be done well. I agree with Baptist Trainfan - there are times when traditional non-conformist worship can really hit the spot - as it were. At other times it seems to fly wide of the mark.

The same is true with liturgical worship. At times in more liturgical services I've felt, 'Surely God is in this place, this is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven ...'

At other times I've 'felt' absolutely nothing at all. Not that it's about feelings and so on ...

What worries me about the liturgically-lite approach that seems so prevalent these days is that a lot of the actual pedagogy of it is going out of the window.

Sure, there were places that were 'liturgically-correct' where the catechesis was dire or practically non-existent.

Now, we seem to have gone to the other extreme where everything is lite and accessible but some of the value and meaning seems to be squandered for a mess of dumbed-down pottage.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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GCabot
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Pastorally speaking it makes no sense ... to jump straight from the Hosannas of the palms to the Alleluias of Easter. I don't know any parish where the regular Sunday congregation turns up en masse for the Good Friday Liturgy.

Yes, that's the problem in a nutshell. If it's any consolation, Baptists may well be even worse at turning up on Good Friday (or Maundy Thursday evening), as they mostly have little concept of the liturgical year. (They're good at taking part in public acts of witness on Good Friday, however ... especially as they haven't got a 3-hour service to get back to, only tea and hot cross buns!)
Interesting... when I was growing up in an Evangelical church, Good Friday was pretty much the only non-Sunday day of "mandatory" church attendance, besides Christmas Eve.

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Gamaliel
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Interesting ... I can remember non-conformists making more of Good Friday than is often the case these days.

What I haven't seen, though, is the scenario georgiaboy describes ...

[Eek!] [Roll Eyes]

I'm not necessarily against innovation, but some places do act daft in the interests of doing things differently ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Cottontail

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Somewhat jealous of all those able to experience the full liturgy of the Passion this Holy Week. I'm gradually, by baby steps, introducing bits of the traditional liturgy to the church with which I worship - we had the full Passion Gospel read in parts yesterday and will have communion and foot washing on Maundy Thursday. Reservation for the solemn liturgy of Good Friday is a step too far for my Presbyterian and Baptist brothers and sisters at present but I live in hope! Need to go and write a reflection for Holy Tuesday now before I go to bed.

You have my sympathy. You really do. I know you have little option but a low-church Presbyterian one, when your natural instincts tend towards the high liturgical. But as a minister in the CofS, even a rather liturgically-minded one, can I just say how incredibly annoying it is when Anglican exiles arrive in one's local Church of Scotland and try to turn it into an Anglican one. As we are the parish church up here in the north, it happens a lot. I am glad to welcome new people with new ideas and energy; I am more than happy to learn from other traditions; and personally I have a great love of the Anglican tradition, and have gained a lot from my time among the Anglo-Catholics. But the fact remains that we are a different tradition, with different riches, and yes, some very different theologies.

So in my church, we too had the Passion readings on Palm Sunday (whether they were the 'proper' ones or not, I neither know nor care). We too are having a Maundy Thursday communion, simple and straightforward (though no footwashing), and we usually do a tenebrae-style service on Good Friday evening (probably nothing like an Anglican tenebrae, but again, I don't know or care, and it works for us). We're even having a two-and-a-half hour vigil on Saturday evening.

But you'll get your 'reservation' over my dead body!

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"I don't think you ought to read so much theology," said Lord Peter. "It has a brutalizing influence."

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PaulTH*
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
I could have gone to the cathedral for a very formal and impersonal liturgy; to a Forward-in-faith church for the Roman mass (in the latest 'translation'); or to an anglo-catholic version of the Book of Common Prayer. None of which would be really in my comfort zone.

I can understand your wish not to go to a FiF parish, but what's wrong with the other options if you like a formal liturgy? A retired priest friend of mine goes 12 miles to a Prayer Book church because he doesn't like the "informal" scene in the town he's moved to. Next month, I'm moving out of London in retirement to the sea, and I'm fortunate to have found a church in a small town with very sound and dignified liturgy. But if I couldn't, I would go 17 miles to Canterbury Cathedral each week. I won't do messy church or any of those things.

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Zappa
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

At other times I've 'felt' absolutely nothing at all. Not that it's about feelings and so on ...

As a liberal catholic sacramental perfectionist long informed by charismatic memories of awe and evangelical memories of the centrality of the Risen Lord I am of course perfect at such matters ... [Roll Eyes] however I confess, too, that having burned my arse off for several weeks taking the faithful on a journey that they may or may not appreciate, attempting to convey something of the awe and mystery and centrality of the Cross and the joy of resurrection and the magnificence of choral tradition (and fighting that attitude that that the Choir is the Good News) and Lord knows what else I have little room for feeling anything, year by year, and in my current pad less than ever (because the task is greater than ever).

But I take some comfort in the objectivity of it all - that God is present and embracing me even when I feel (as I do now) like a burned out shell. I take comfort too in the glimpses I get of lights switching on in the souls of those who are encountering this for the or the re-first time ...

... and I look forward to retiring in about fifteen years time when some other bastard can do the work and I'll just reach out my hands at the final rope - the Easter communion - and gasp "thank you, thank you Jesus" and know the Easter joy* again at last.

* which is not to say I don't, or I'm burned out or something ... I do and I'm not. But just to hitchhike again, one day ... or maybe just piss off to the eschatological bunfight where I see no longer through a darkened glass blah blah

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ldjjd
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georgiaboy,

I'm not sure that it's still done, but the local Methodist church used to open its chapel for three hours on Good Friday for self-serve communion.

I wondered whether the grape juice and bread cubes were left over from the previous evening (a sort of reserved Sacrament?) or were they simply plunked down straight from the bottles and loaves absent any kind of sacramental preparation?

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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In reply to Cottontail:

[Overused] [Axe murder] [Angel]

I could not have said it better myself.

[ 31. March 2015, 00:16: Message edited by: Sober Preacher's Kid ]

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Barefoot Friar

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quote:
Originally posted by ldjjd:
I wondered whether the grape juice and bread cubes were left over from the previous evening (a sort of reserved Sacrament?) or were they simply plunked down straight from the bottles and loaves absent any kind of sacramental preparation?

Knowing Methodists the way I do, I would not be at all surprised if it was the latter. We've gotten very sloppy of late.

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Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. -- Desmond Tutu

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cosmic dance
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Zappa:
[Overused] [Overused]

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Cottontail:
]You have my sympathy. You really do. I know you have little option but a low-church Presbyterian one, when your natural instincts tend towards the high liturgical. But as a minister in the CofS, even a rather liturgically-minded one, can I just say how incredibly annoying it is when Anglican exiles arrive in one's local Church of Scotland and try to turn it into an Anglican one. As we are the parish church up here in the north, it happens a lot. I am glad to welcome new people with new ideas and energy; I am more than happy to learn from other traditions; and personally I have a great love of the Anglican tradition, and have gained a lot from my time among the Anglo-Catholics. But the fact remains that we are a different tradition, with different riches, and yes, some very different theologies.

So in my church, we too had the Passion readings on Palm Sunday (whether they were the 'proper' ones or not, I neither know nor care). We too are having a Maundy Thursday communion, simple and straightforward (though no footwashing), and we usually do a tenebrae-style service on Good Friday evening (probably nothing like an Anglican tenebrae, but again, I don't know or care, and it works for us). We're even having a two-and-a-half hour vigil on Saturday evening.

But you'll get your 'reservation' over my dead body!

That's fair enough. I know there are limits, and I was largely being facetious. If I want to see that liturgy here I'm well aware that it will be done by an SEC priest or not at all. Incidentally the liturgy we use for Maundy Thursday is largely drawn from the Iona Community, which has its roots in the Church of Scotland, for all its ecumenicalism.
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Arethosemyfeet
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Missed the edit window, just wanted to add:

I suppose what I'm saying is that I draw a distinction between encouraging the CofS to move in a particular directions within its own, broad tradition, and trying to make it move outside that. If I'm leading worship I try to fit within Presbyterian norms and not cause offence to those of that tradition while still remaining honest to my own beliefs and traditions. I thought I had made a misstep a few weeks ago when I talked about there still being people with the gift of prophecy and only realising afterwards that the CofS is traditionally cessationist. Fortunately I was reassured that this was no longer the case.

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Cottontail

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
Missed the edit window, just wanted to add:

I suppose what I'm saying is that I draw a distinction between encouraging the CofS to move in a particular directions within its own, broad tradition, and trying to make it move outside that. If I'm leading worship I try to fit within Presbyterian norms and not cause offence to those of that tradition while still remaining honest to my own beliefs and traditions. I thought I had made a misstep a few weeks ago when I talked about there still being people with the gift of prophecy and only realising afterwards that the CofS is traditionally cessationist. Fortunately I was reassured that this was no longer the case.

I was teasing a little too, Arethosemyfeet. [Smile] You are clearly very sensitive to the tradition you are working with, and I appreciate that very much - as I am sure they do.

(And yes, one doesn't tend to hear much by way of cessationist theology now, though it might still be going strong in the Highlands and Islands, for all I know. Not an issue at all where I am, and I would be looked at blankly if I raised it.)

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
I could have gone to the cathedral for a very formal and impersonal liturgy; to a Forward-in-faith church for the Roman mass (in the latest 'translation'); or to an anglo-catholic version of the Book of Common Prayer. None of which would be really in my comfort zone.

I can understand your wish not to go to a FiF parish, but what's wrong with the other options if you like a formal liturgy?
Nothing really. It's just me being picky. I can't complain if a church insists on using 1662, even though it's not my preference. Actually of those three places the liturgy at the FinF place probably is nearest my taste, though it tends to the fussy and the 'new' RC translation sets my teeth on edge. I just wish that all parishes, or at least the majority, did the generally-accepted (Common Worship) Eucharist without messing around with it or trivialising it. Or even worse, omitting it altogether. I do like to be part of a smallish congregation that knows and supports one another, rather than an impersonal crowd like a cathedral. Though occasional visits there are sometimes a tonic and a boost.
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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Zappa:
But just to hitchhike again, one day ... or maybe just piss off to the eschatological bunfight where I see no longer through a darkened glass blah blah

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe perhaps? [Smile]

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Angloid
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Sorry for the triple post but I was going to say this before I was distracted by the two I replied to.

Just been to see the filmed version of the Manchester Royal Exchange production of Hamlet, with Maxine Peake in the title role. I had tears down my cheeks several times during the 3+ hour performance. And it set me wondering: why do so few liturgies have the same effect? Not necessarily stirring emotions in the same way, but pointing to a transcendence beyond the here and now.

I don't think it has anything to do with the lack of performance skills on the part of the clergy, nor with costumes or choreography. Indeed a theatrical approach to worship would be quite wrong and counter-productive. But good drama, and poetry, though rooted in reality and having both feet on the ground, can transform our vision from something particular and mundane to something greater and more universal. Sacraments, and liturgy, are almost by definition that. All too often though, we apologise for them, presenting them as if we don't really believe in their significance, as if we are embarrassed about giving people too much religion. Too much modern liturgy is didactic rather than proclamatory. We tend to explain too much as if we are frightened of letting God reveal him/herself. Or as Hamlet said, 'the lady (and gentleman) doth protest too much.'

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
I do like to be part of a smallish congregation that knows and supports one another, rather than an impersonal crowd like a cathedral.

Aye well, there's the rub. Faced with a choice between the liturgy that would "suit" me, personally (rather than my family as a whole because they are not the same thing) and the supportive congregation I went for the latter and never regretted it. Not that the liturgical option had an unfriendly or deliberately unsupportive congregation you understand, but simply that whilst a spectrum of types of people is Good, IME non-intersecting sets of people don't tend to understand each other well enough to be practically friendly and supportive.

But I digress. I think my point is that churchmanship and style are, to my mind, rather secondary to the nature of the church community. Or as the writer of Proverbs would put it (if exaggeratedly) "Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred"

[ 01. April 2015, 06:38: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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Yes. And, to refer back to some comments I made upthread, such an attitude displays a commitment to being part of a local expression of the Body of Christ, rather than simply regarding religion in terms of one's individual fulfilment.
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Rosa Winkel

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I can't speak for Liverpool cathedral, but when I worked in Chester cathedral I found that those who attended the Eucharist were a community, including families with young children. The Eucharists had quite a pleasant atmosphere.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:


But I digress. I think my point is that churchmanship and style are, to my mind, rather secondary to the nature of the church community. Or as the writer of Proverbs would put it (if exaggeratedly) "Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred"

Well yes, 'churchmanship' and style are not the issue. The nature of the food is. Simple and nourishing vegetables are one thing; unsatisfying fast food is another. I would like nothing better than to be able to support my neighbourhood restaurant rather than the Michelin-starred one in town, but if my only local choice is McDonalds then there's a problem.

[ 01. April 2015, 09:57: Message edited by: Angloid ]

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Your OP was entirely about style and churchmanship.

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Gamaliel
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I think that with all the caveats and considerations about community and so on - all of which I agree with - we have to face the fact that for some people, some styles of worship (of whatever tradition or churchmanship) are going to be corrosive.

Someone who doesn't have a drink problem isn't going to mind a glass of wine round at your house, but a recovering alcoholic would have a problem ...

I'd put recovering charismatics or recovering whatever-else's in that kind of category ...

Someone who has been burned by charismaticism, say, isn't going to relish happy-clappy ...

Conversely, someone who has had negative experiences in a highly liturgical setting isn't going to go for that either ...

Irrespective of style and churchmanship, I think there are ways of doing things well.

I think Angloid's got a point, there's much that is sloppy and ill-considered.

I also think some of this has to do with past experiences as well. In my more full-on, fervently charismatic days I remember attending a very MoR communion service on holiday in North Wales and coming out feeling uplifted and nine-feet tall ...

It just felt so refreshing not being bossed around by some fervent worship-leader telling us to do this, that and the other ...

A sense of community does cover a multitude of sins though ...

On Chester Cathedral - yes, I've heard other people say the same, that there's a sense of congregational community among the regular communion crowd.

I know someone who has left over the women bishops thing and who has taken refuge in a more 'high church' setting elsewhere in the city and she misses the sense of community - she describes the cathedral as having more of that than some parish churches in Chester.

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Albertus
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That's not surprising: given that a lot of people nowadays are happy to cross parish boundaries to worship (and may do so unthinkingly), in a smallish city like Chester there's no reason why the cathedral congregation can't be a local community. And of course some cathedrals (like our own up the river at Llandaff, or Southwark) are parish churches too.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Your OP was entirely about style and churchmanship.

Fair point. Though I would argue that it's more about content. Within the Church of England I would expect a wide variety of expression, and though I have my own preferences it's often good to stray outside them. My main point is that a recognisable form of Anglican liturgy, including the Eucharist and using the authorised lectionary, should be on offer (as per Canon Law) in every parish church every Sunday, whatever else is provided besides.

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Gamaliel
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Our parish church never uses the lectionary.

I've complained to the vicar about this and he just scoffs.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Albertus
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What about complaining to the archdeacon?
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Your OP was entirely about style and churchmanship.

Fair point. Though I would argue that it's more about content. Within the Church of England I would expect a wide variety of expression, and though I have my own preferences it's often good to stray outside them. My main point is that a recognisable form of Anglican liturgy, including the Eucharist and using the authorised lectionary, should be on offer (as per Canon Law) in every parish church every Sunday, whatever else is provided besides.
I think the problem is that "recognisable form of Anglican liturgy" is a bit of a subjective measure. Some would question whether a FiF service borrowing as much as it can get away with from Rome qualified, just as others would query whether a rather more informal service that only used the bits of the liturgy that don't have "may say" in front of them was recognisably Anglican. One assumes that the Eucharist at the service you described in the OP was the latter. I've argue quite strongly (and successfully) in our shack that we stick to the lectionary, to be fair, for two reasons - you get at least to discover there are bits in the Bible that aren't on the vicar's Top Ten Favourite Bits, and you don't (screaming horrors) fall into the dreaded "Ephesians verse by verse over two years" trap.

If the community "works", though, I'm willing to forgive a lot. Except "Isn't He Beautiful." That has the same effect on me as The Archers' theme tune...

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
You don't (screaming horrors) fall into the dreaded "Ephesians verse by verse over two years" trap.

A bit of a tangent. The late Michael Saward (do I dare mention him on this board?) wrote of his second Curacy c.1962 in an Evangelical north London parish. His Rector was a great fan of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and believed in verse-by-verse exposition, not recognising that the congregation at Westminster Chapel was rather different to the one in Edgware, and got rather tired of this approach.

Anyway, one day he asked Michael to "ginger up" the titles of his next few sermons, with the aim of making them sound more contemporary. Michael did so; but, as he was posting them onto the church noticeboard, a disgruntled parishioner said, "Huh! He can call them what he likes - but they're still bloody First Peter!"

[ 01. April 2015, 14:28: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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